6 Life Lessons Learned From Writing In The Death Industry For 8 Years

8 years. Nearly 400 hundred blogs. 400,000 words. 

This is my contribution to the funeral service profession since I started blogging for funeralOne back in 2012. 

Who knew that after studying Journalism and Literature in college, that I would end up working for a b2b business in the death industry?

Not me, that’s for sure. 

Let me tell you, although it wasn’t the easiest thing to tell my friends about when I started, death has become one of my favorite conversation topics. 

And I’ll tell you why in the 6 lessons I’ve learned blogging for the funeral service industry below:

 

Lesson #1: Don’t take yourself so seriously. 

Why on Earth would someone who wanted to be the CEO of a public relations firm take a job blogging for the funeral profession? I asked myself that before I accepted the position in 2012. But, I realized that although it wasn’t my idea of perfection in my life, the Universe had bigger and better plans for me. 

How can you cling to an idea you’ve conjured up in your mind, when your life is happening right in front of you, handing you an opportunity bursting with potential? Not me, I decided. And here I am, 8 years later, a far more wise and better person because of the work I do.

Now, my dreams have grown and I’ve dove heart first into the healing realm, working as a healer and coach, and this work has been one of the best preparations for understanding life on a deeper level (which is a prerequisite of doing any healing work).

 

Lesson #2: Don’t take criticism too harshly, either.

I’ve got to be honest, I’ve gotten so much sh*t for doing my job from different characters in this industry. I’ve had people trolling me on social media, stalking my personal profile, and mocking me for not being a funeral director and doing this work. 

Although I’ve received my fair share of crap comments from people, I’ve also received hundreds of comments from people thanking me a million times over for providing a fresh perspective that this profession has long needed. Now there are many more like me, but I’m proud that funeralOne was the OG breath of fresh air the funeral industry needed.

 

Lesson #3: Writing about death brings hope to families.

I can’t tell you how many times I check our comment notifications on our blog and see people who are writing to us. They’ll tell me that their grandmother, father or aunt just passed and they had no idea how to honor them, but reading one of our blogs gave them so much hope and inspiration. This touches my heart and fuels me to keep doing what I’m doing. It truly feels like a gift to offer this to those who need it.

 

Lesson #4: Make friends with death.

Before I started writing for the death industry, I feared it more than most I know. When I thought of my own mortality, I would jump out of my chair, have a panic attack, or call my mom. And yes, I was a full grown adult. Writing about death has forced me to become friends with it.

You know the saying “you are what you eat?”. Well, the same goes for what you read, write, think, and say. And watching countless videos, reading industry reports, and talking to funeral business owners for years and years has forced me to reconcile my thoughts on my own mortality. And for that, I am grateful.

Read more: What Embracing Death Can Teach Us About Life

 

Lesson #5: Don’t let the illusion of perfection stop you.

One of my biggest hangups writing for the funeral profession addresses a big, fat elephant in the room: I am not a funeral director. I have never conducted a funeral before. And I probably never will. However, I did not let that stop me from following my guidance to stick with this job. I have been to countless industry conventions, interviewed dozens, done numerous research studies, and generally surround myself with people who are passionate about supporting people through the death process. If I had let myself stay small, stagnant, and scared because I wasn’t a seasoned funeral director, I wouldn’t have been able to help the thousands of people I’ve helped. Which leads me to my next point…

 

Lesson #6: Don’t die with your gifts still in you.

I remember watching a Ted Talk long ago that quoted Henry David Thoureau. The quote goes: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them”.

Hearing that quote left a deep sinking feeling in my stomach. It caused me to look deep within myself, and ask if my song was still in me. In a way, it was, because I wasn’t exactly sure how my gifts were channelled through this work. So I started focusing my attention on where the words I write come from.

Where in me do I dig for the right words to say? And then I realized, it was my caring, sensitive heart and absolute hunger for innovation for a better world that fueled the 400,000 words I’ve written over the last 8 years. Now that I know my gifts more, I can easily choose to offer them consciously. 

And I will, whether it’s through writing this blog, or doing a healing session with someone in my home in Hawaii. I will continue to sing my song. And I won’t let criticism, perfection, or fear stop me. 

I didn’t choose to write for the funeral industry, but it chose me. And after 8 years, I can say I am ever so grateful for this opportunity. 

 

What about you? What is your gift? And what have you learned from sharing it with the world? Tell me in the comments below. 

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  1. kathy livingston

    I taught courses in death, grief and bereavement for 30 years and worked with many death professionals. I’ve always found your blog to be helpful, timely, and spot on and I find it so funny that the field found YOU. Bless you & your work.

  2. Krystal Penrose

    Thanks so much Kathy! I really appreciate you words. These words get me out of bed in the morning! And also, thanks for doing YOUR work. For showing up. You are important and needed! Much love!